The Myth Of The Boston Tea Party

Boston_Tea_Party_Currier_coloredBelow is my column in The Hill on the increasingly common rationalization that looting and property damage is a long-standing tradition first embraced by the Sons of Liberty in the Boston Tea Party.  That historical analogy was very popular in the days before the Fourth of July.  A professor made the comparison on CNN on the Fourth.  The view is widely raised in universities like the column in the University of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat newspaper declaring “The Boston Tea Party was when we first saw looting as a form of protest in America. White people acting out in anger is literally celebrated in our history books.”  Likewise, at the University of Dayton last week, a column stated “There is something to be said when our White founders destroying British property in the Boston Tea Party is glorified in every textbook, but burning down a Target for the rights of African Americans to simply breathe is damned in the media.”

It is a revisionist historical argument that is as convenient as it is wrong.  While the Framers would have supported the vast majority of protesters who engaged in peaceful demonstrations for reform and racial equality, the Sons of Liberty would have been the first to denounce the concept of wanton property destruction or looting as a means for social change.

Here is the column:


As the country celebrates Independence Day, many of us will view monuments that have been toppled, defaced or entombed in protective fencing. Businesses throughout the country have been vandalized or boarded up, creating a surreal landscape for many this holiday.

Most protesters did not engage in rioting or looting. Yet, the only thing more maddening than the random destruction is an increasingly common media rationalization that today’s rioters are the new Boston Tea Party patriots continuing a long tradition of property damage as a form of political speech. These rioters have as much in common with the Boston Tea Party as the Antifa movement has with the Anti-Federalists.

The rationalization is not new. After violence and looting in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, leading Black Lives Matter figure DeRay McKesson was hired by Yale University to lecture on “Transformative Leadership.” McKesson’s lecture included reading about how looting is a “righteous tactic,” and he defended property damage as a tradition dating to the Boston Tea Party. Many in the media have raised the analogy, including CNN’s Don Lemon, who recently chastised anyone “judging” the looting and rioting because “our country was started because — this is how — the Boston Tea Party. Rioting… this is how this country started.”

Even some academics have given these crimes the imprimatur of history or patriotism. Journalism professor Steven W. Thrasher at Northwestern University wrote in Slate that “property destruction for social change is as American as the Boston Tea Party.”


These and other statements misrepresent history. Consider just five glaring conflicts:

The Tea Party’s “Sons of Liberty” did not commit “property destruction for social change”

It is certainly true that the Sons of Liberty destroyed property but they did not do it for social change and some likely did not it for political change.  The embrace of the Sons of Liberty as a model by the left is as comical as it is incorrect. They were the ultimate capitalist movement. Some of these men were tea merchants or tea smugglers upset with the sale of huge amounts of tea by England’s East India Company under the Tea Act. Indeed, one would think today’s activists would be least likely to embrace a group of militant capitalists engaged in the most famous act of cultural appropriation in history.

The Sons — dressed as Mohawk Indians — wanted to destroy the tea itself. The taxation of tea was not, as commonly thought, the triggering of this confrontation; tea had been taxed, along with other items, since 1767 as part of the Townshend Revenue Act. In 1770, those taxes were lifted — except on tea, to enable the East India Co. to sell 544,000 excess pounds in storage by undercutting the market in the colonies.

The “tea party” was more like supporters of U.S.-made steel dumping Mexican steel into Houston’s port. The targeting of the tea had as much of an economic as a political purpose.  None embraced the concept of generally destroying property to change society.

The Sons of Liberty were not looters

Another problem with today’s rationalizations is that the Sons of Liberty were not looters in common meaning of that term.  More importantly, they actions were manifestly different from what we witnessed across the country.  They did not take the tea home. Conversely, today’s looters seen carrying flat-screen TVs out of Target stores were not desperately seeking a harbor to toss away cursed symbols of Sony’s tyranny. They were stealing TVs. While academics like Clifford Stott, professor of social psychology at Keele University, may assure CNN that “looting is an expression of power,” it is primarily a crime for personal gain.

The Sons of Liberty did not advocate wanton property destruction

In fact, they would have been the first to condemn today’s destruction. We know that because they said so. Before boarding three tea ships, the Sons agreed they would not cause damage beyond destroying the tea. (The ships actually were owned by Americans). Samuel Adams, one of the leaders, insisted that the Sons carry out their mission “without the least Injury to the Vessels or any other property.” After the Sons broke a padlock to access one ship’s hold, they returned the next day to replace it.

That is in stark contrast to Greater New York Black Lives Matter president Hawk Newsome’s defense of the use of violence “because this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution, what’s our diplomacy across the globe?” He added “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right?” The Sons of Liberty would say that is not right, as they did in 1773.

The Sons of Liberty did not start the revolution or receive wide support 

There is a popular misconception that the Sons of Liberty were widely praised for their actions and galvanized the nation to rebel against the British Crown. Many patriots, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, condemned their act. It was the Crown’s heavy-handed response to this and other acts that fueled the call for independence.

Indeed, if the British government had not stupidly ratcheted up oppressive measures, the Boston Tea Party could have worked to its advantage with many Americans who wanted to reconcile with England, including many of our Framers.

The Sons of Liberty lacked liberty

These were the “Sons of Liberty,” not the “Sons of Anarchy.” The biggest difference is that, putting aside economic interests, the Sons wanted liberty and representation.  We now have a Constitution that affords the self-determination and rights that were denied to them. Yet, looting, arson and vandalism are being committed today despite the legal and legislative options for reform. Indeed, soon after the killing of George Floyd, an array of reforms already were proposed. These criminal acts have made reforms more difficult, not more likely.

downloadAs a nation, we fought the Crown to free ourselves from arbitrary acts and injuries — not to empower such acts by our own citizens. Samuel Adams declared, “Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” In other words, he would not have been in the mob shattering an auto-parts store’s windows. He and his compatriots more likely would be the guys in New England Patriots Jerseys standing in front protecting the store in Boston.

The vast majority of protesters have been peaceful. They have forced us all to think about racial inequities and personal prejudices. However, the destruction of property and monuments are the very type of capriciousness that patriots condemned. There are many contemporary causes for violence and anger; they are worth discussing — but leave the Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party out of this.


212 thoughts on “The Myth Of The Boston Tea Party”

  1. Seth Warner, the NRA is in serious financial difficulty. Shouldn’t take much of a push.

    1. Thanks for reminding me, David. BLM should lawyer up and take on the NRA. Perhaps an all star team could be assembled.

  2. And so another day draws to a close in Trumpistan…


  3. Jonathan: Speaking of “revisionist history” did you hear Trump’s 4th of July address to the nation? If you think historians have taken unwarranted liberties with the events surrounding the Boston Tea Party you have to hear Trump’s version of how Christopher Columbus “discovered America”. Trump’s speech was pretty much a re-run of his remarks at Mt. Rushmore: “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchists, the the agitators, the looters…we will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children…” Red meat for Trump supporters. Sounds a little like vintage Winston Churchill during the dark days of World War II when Hitler ruled Europe and threatened Great Britain. In Room 60 beneath Whitehall in his bunker Churchill composed and gave his historic radio speeches that stirred the English people’s resolve to defeat Hitler. Written in prose and employing repetition Churchill said: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender”. Stirring words even today. But I digress.

    In contrast to Churchill, Trump doesn’t write his own speeches. The are written by senior advisor Stephen Miller or his surrogate. That’s because Trump has difficulty in putting two coherent sentences together in the same paragraph. It would be hard to picture Trump in the basement of the White House composing almost poetic language like Churchill. So Trump relies on Miller because they share racist and anti-immigrant views. Miller doesn’t disappoint because he promotes the views of white supremacists and their publications from his office in the White House. Joseph Goebbels would be proud of his heir apparent. Woops! There I go again. Trying to project what some dead person would say about current actors. But it’s ironic that a Jew would align himself with anti-Semites and those who espouse neo-Nazi views. But, again, I digress.

    In his 4th of July address Trump also said: “we will defend, protect and preserve the American way of life, which began in 1492 when Columbus discovered America”. Now most elementary school children and most of the readers of your posts know that Columbus did not discover America. It had been occupied by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before Columbus arrived. Had Trump been on his toes and a little smarter he might have, in going over Miller’s draft of the address, pointed out the historical errors about Columbus. But he didn’t because he either didn’t bother to read the draft or he believes in the myths about Columbus. In any case, we know the sordid legacy of Columbus. Where ever he explored in the Americas Columbus robbed and enslaved the local population. In Hispanola, Columbus brutally exploited the native Taina people–decimating the population either from brutal torture or from his soldier’s infectious diseases.

    And despite Trump’s assertion the “American way of life” didn’t begin in 1492. How could it? The only “Americans” at the time were native peoples. The “American way of life” didn’t begin until after the US became a nation. And then we know what happened. The colonists expanded their hold on the North American continent–followed by white immigrant settlers robbing native people of their land and either killing them or pushing them on to what we euphemistically call “reservations”–all we the blessing of the nascent and future US governments. This is the real history of the “American way of life”, not the historical revisionism of Trump and Miller! Now this is the “revisionist history” you should be addressing not whether historians have it right about the Boston Tea Party.

  4. Trump’s Disapproval Hits All-Time High Of 58%

    The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that Trump’s disapproval rating was 58%, the highest of his presidency. What’s more, 49% “strongly” disapprove of the job he’s doing. That kind of intense opposition to a president has never been seen before, since polling began.

    87% — Dissatisfaction is the highest of Trump’s presidency: Amid this coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic freefall, the Pew Research Center recently found that 87% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. And 71% say they are angry, 66% say they’re fearful and just 17% are proud of the way things are going.

    56% — Trump’s (mis)handling of the coronavirus: About 130,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus. That’s about a quarter of all the deaths worldwide.

    And an average of 56% of people disapprove of his response to the pandemic, the highest level so far. That’s taken its toll on Trump politically, especially as states in more politically conservative places are seeing spikes in cases and hospitalizations. Pew found Democrat Joe Biden has an 11-point advantage on who’s best to handle the public health impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 52% to 41%. Fifty-two also happens to be the percentage of voters saying they would vote for Biden over Trump in the general election, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

    67% — Making racial tensions worse: A separate NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, conducted in early June, found two-thirds of Americans thought Trump mostly made racial tensions worse. That was after a week of protests and right after law enforcement forcibly removed peaceful protesters outside the White House so he could walk to a partially burned church across the street and pose with a Bible.

    Yet Trump has only doubled down since then. He’s not only pushed a “law and order” message but amped it up, saying, for instance, if “Black Lives Matter” were painted on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, it would be a “symbol of hate.”

    Another eyebrow-raising number is the 52% who now say they are in favor of removing Confederate statues from public spaces around the country, according to a Quinnipiac poll. Three years ago, 39% said so.

    47% — An economic handling decline: Gallup found that from January to June, the percentage of Americans approving of the job Trump’s doing on the economy declined 16 points, from 63% to 47%. The strong economy was undoubtedly buoying Trump to some extent, and now it’s not. Trump’s lead over Biden on handling of the economy has shrunk, though he’s still up on the question in most polls.

    35% — Trump’s suburban cratering: One set of numbers that will make you rub your eyes is about suburban voters. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters,

    49% to 45%, according to exit polls. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, though, has Trump losing them by a whopping 60% to 35%. That’s not a typo. That’s a 29-point swing, from +4 to -25. That kind of cratering in the suburbs is part of why Democrats won the House in 2018, are favored to keep it in 2020, and have made inroads with an unfavorable Senate map. It’s tough to see Trump winning reelection without turning things around in the suburbs.

    Edited From: “Trump Presses Cancel Culture War, But Here Are 6 Numbers That Matter More”

    Today’s NPR

    1. Seth– I think the chances are very good that Biden will be elected in November. The press has done an excellent job of flooding their listeners and readers with three and one-half years of anti-Trump propaganda, so much so that when network coverage was measured it was 93% negative toward Trump. Virtually no coverage is given to the many, many positive accomplishments of President Trump, and the disastrous effects of democrat leadership in our major cities and states are covered up. The destruction of our history is praised and the thugs, thieves and murderers like Black Lives Matter are called “protestors.” The only truly shocking thing would be if somehow President Trump was re-elected. After all, Goebbels convinced ordinary Germans it was ok to gas the Jews in less time. I doubt your people did much to build this country– I know the rioters did nothing– but they sure are proving good at tearing it down. Drink up and celebrate– in four months you will elect an early stages senile man with a proven history of corruption as your next President. I’d say that’s a perfect fit for you, your fellow travelers and the media.

      1. Honest, I understand your pessimism. Continuous bad press can do that but you know all the great things Trump has accomplished and you can obviously see the writing on the wall if the fascist democrats win the Presidency. I wonder why you assume a lot of quiet hardworking people don’t see those things as well so when the time comes they will vote for Trump and he will win.

        What I fear is that the dems will try and be able to fix the election in their favor. That is the way fascists behave.

      2. Running on Trump is evil might inspire the far left of their base, but at some point, Biden will need to detail what exactly he and the Democrats will do to improve this country. It’s the middle 50% that will want to see specifics and if they don’t get them, they will stay home or give Trump and the Republicans a landslide victory.

        I happen to agree with Allan, the most likely threat for this election is the Democrats corrupting the process.

        1. Allan/ Olly– you both make good sense and down deep it is impossible for me to believe that good citizens in this country can’t see beyond what the media is telling them. So, I should be wrong and hopefully I am. I agree there is a real risk that the democrats may steal the election, especially if mail in ballots are widespread. It wasn’t that long ago that union members and mobsters in Chicago harvested ballots, filled them in and changed election results. Here in our small conservative town, we’ve had trouble even with absentee ballots that have to be requested– multiple ballots sent to the same address.

          Also, thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. That is a real gift.

          1. Honest, in my home we are already got a ballot mailed to us of a deceased relative (>10years) that never used my address but did vote Democrat. I can’t say the reason but perhaps since this was for democrat nominations there is an assumption that democrat voters in the election might go ahead and use the extra ballot (if sent at that time as well) to vote in the name of a dead person.

          2. “impossible for me to believe that good citizens in this country can’t see beyond what the media is telling them.”

            Honest, I tried to find a book I read quite awhile ago and failed. I wanted to look at his data again before responding to you. The author talked about the media’s effect on election outcomes. I thought his presentation was fair and demonstrated that the democrats get an 8% advantage based on the MSM. That is a big punch. It also would mean that what we call center might actually be center left and that the real center should be moved to the right.

            I can’t vouch for what he says especially since I couldn’t even remember his name but I just thought I would throw that out.

          3. down deep it is impossible for me to believe that good citizens in this country can’t see beyond what the media is telling them.

            The unhinged from reality will believe them, which is likely less than 30%. They will also be the ones with the loudest voice right now. This election will hinge on that 40-50% that aren’t influenced by them. We still have the Durham investigation that will drop and of course Biden and his running mate will be forced to debate reality. I saw Biden had a “teacher” on a podcast with him who described her job as a “social justice warrior” pumping BLM and systemic racism. She was his go to after talking about his education vision. This is going to be an interesting 4 months.

          4. @honestlawyermostly If the government administers something, you can count on mismanagement. Example regarding mail-in ballots: elderly family friend died; my husband was executor of her will. He had her mail forwarded to our house for a year while he wrapped things up — no permanent address change, just forwarded. Inexplicitly the deceased became registered to vote at our house. We started receiving her ballots thereafter. Finally they stopped after we received a notice for the deceased to report for jury duty and called the Clerk concerned that the Sheriff would show up at our door. Incompetence.

        2. Olly,
          “Biden will need to detail what exactly he and the Democrats will do to improve this country”

          I’m not sure I want any president saying what he will do to improve the country. I didn’t think the president was really supposed to set policy–Congress is supposed to drive that.

          Unless, are you referring to those things in the Executive branch the President controls?

          1. I’m not sure I want any president saying what he will do to improve the country.

            Prairie Rose,
            That’s what they are supposed to do. They lead. They detail the vision they have, they set the foreign and domestic policy, they submit a budget to Congress for funding and they faithfully execute the laws.

            1. Olly,
              ” they submit a budget to Congress for funding”

              Is that because the executive branch is so large now?

              Perhaps I am missing something, but that’s not in the Constitution. The Executive branch is over-emphasized.

              What are your thoughts on this perspective:


              We the people are to set policy. What do *we* want as a country? Our representatives and senators wrangle over those ideas, vote on the laws that aim to improve things for the country as a whole at the federal level, and the president signs it or not.

              If an individual sets the policy and people expect to follow that flips the power of the government on its head. All the focus is on the president.

              1. “Perhaps I am missing something, but that’s not in the Constitution. The Executive branch is over-emphasized.”

                IMO that reflects the fact that Congress wasn’t doing its job. The left depended on the Supreme Court to legislate from the bench. Both parties permitted the Presidency to gain power. Add to that the expansion of the powers of the federal government over the states and one sees the executive branch gaining more and more power though it is not just the Presidency but also the bureaucracy.

              2. We the people are to set policy. What do *we* want as a country?

                At best, about 65% of eligible voters vote in the general election. Incumbents in Congress have a roughly 90% chance of being reelected. Despite having less than 20% approval rating.

                So from the article: because we, the people, would punish them all at the ballot box if they did.

                For the most part, the People don’t know what government should be doing. They tolerate most of what government does as long as they are not negatively impacted on a personal level. There is an attention gap that is filled by the various personalities people ascribe some level of importance, that fill their heads with opinions that are acceptable. If the people woke up tomorrow understanding what constitutional governance should look like, this November would be a bloodbath for Congress, all the way down ticket. But unfortunately, that won’t happen. That’s one or two generations away, if we took back the education industry today. What’s most likely to happen at best is we keep slogging along until the thing collapses under it’s own weight. Then we reboot and start the process over.

          2. Prairie, this isn’t 1824. The President sets the agenda as the leader of the country, and practically as the leader of his party. His leadership is often based on his mandate, which of course Trump has never had, having lost the 2016 election and the 2018 election.

            1. His mandate is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. What he gets to do looks to me to be pretty narrow as outlined in the Constitution.

              1. Trump doesn’t have a mandate. He lost the vote. Presidents usually do and are national leaders for the people and their party. The more active ones propose a program of legislation, introduced into Congress by their party leaders and delegation in each house. There is nothing violating the constitution in that act.

                1. “There is nothing violating the constitution in that act.”

                  Except the Condtiturion outlines what the president *gets* to do. He doesn’t get to add to it like a political version of CalvinBall.

                  A proposal is a suggestion that Congress can completely ignore as an intrusion on their responsibilities.

                  1. Prairie, you’ll have to spell out what you think is unconstitutional about a President advocating for legislation to be passed by Congress. I don’t get it. Even Lyndon Johnson and FDR limited their behavior to advocacy. They didn’t somehow vote illegally.

                2. Idiot, the President that preserved the union had less than 40% of the votes. Hopefully, but not certainly, you will recognize the name of the President.

      3. Honest, Trump’s own Twitter feed serves as a daily log of his madness. Mainstream media hasn’t had to make up anything.

        1. Seth– Apparently your people are making reservations for the Trump rally in New Hampshire with no intention of going so the arena will look empty. Obviously you and the democrats are fine with depriving other Americans of an opportunity to see their President in person so you can play your junior high school games. Feeling a little embarrassed at such childish antics would be a step toward recovery. Try it.

          1. Honest, ‘my people’ are mainstream Democrats in California. I take no responsibility for the antics of Bernie Bros.

            I warned months ago that the Bernie Bros were trouble. But Honest, the Trumpers on this blog kept singing ‘Poor Bernie”. Like “Poor Bernie, the Democrats are screwing him”.

            And Honest I kept wondering if these Trumpers ‘knew’ any Bernie Bros. Because Honest, they kept acting like Bernie Bros were perfectly nice kids. ‘But Democrats were blowing them off”.

            Yeah, Honest, it was all a phony display. Democrats had good reason to lock ‘Poor Bernie’ out. His followers are Maoists! Democrats don’t want them. Bernie Bros, like the Trumpers, are anti-intellectuals.

      4. HLM:

        I don’t think Biden has any better than a 10% chance. History of radicalism is against him given these episodes always usher in a law and order administration. Left wing outlets are swooning in the ratings like deathbed CNN, MSNBC, ESPN and newly woke NASCAR. Most affected by police defunding (an outright lie as even dumb old AOC realizes but a demoralizing factor) black Americans, will likely support Trump to the tune of 12-15% which decimates the Dim chances. Of course, there’s the Dementia Joe factor at play that will reveal itself in the debates or relegate him to a basement candidate. All in all an electoral sweep that will have ol’ Seth cutting and pasting confirmation bias until his fingers freeze.

        1. “History of radicalism is against him given these episodes always usher in a law and order administration. ”

          This is one of the factors I mull over in my mind. A lot of the hyperactivity that is led by anarchists makes one wonder how much of that energy will be transferred to Biden in the election. Of course that assumes that the democrat candidate will be Biden. I’m not so sure for a variety of reasons. BLM has provided the Biden campaign with tremendous amounts of money but that money mostly comes from the haves rather than the have not so much whose businesses, communities and homes were destroyed. Will Trump make inroads into that community. I think so.

      5. Fantastic cynicism, but don’t write off Trump’s base and those usual Democrat-voter’s who have been violently woken by the hard left turn the Democrat Party has taken since November 2016.

        Traditionally, Conservatives don’t poll, but in today’s insane environment they don’t dare speak of their support either. They will vote though, in person, all over the country.

        I’m calling 350+ Electoral Votes, strengthening the Senate and regaining the House. Ca25 should have shocked every Democrat in the nation.

        They’ll try to keep the environment ripe for a mail-in-ballot with the 2019-vCoV hoax, which is what the GOP needs to fight. We also need to crush the Democrat/Communist dhimmie Armies; BLM, Antifa, et al.

        November 2020 is going to be Biblical. God Bless us all.

  5. Trump Goes Full Racial As Polls Flash Alarm Signals

    Republicans In Tight Senate Races Understandably Nervous

    Donald Trump mounted an explicit defense of the Confederate flag on Monday, suggesting that NASCAR had made a mistake in banning it from its auto racing events, while falsely accusing a top Black driver, Darrell Wallace Jr., of perpetrating a hoax involving a noose found in his garage.

    The remarks are part of a pattern. Almost every day in the last two weeks, Mr. Trump has sought to stoke white fear and resentment, portraying himself as a protector of an old order that polls show much of America believes perpetuates entrenched racism and wants to move beyond.

    For many Republicans who are watching the president’s impact on Senate races with alarm, his focus on racial and cultural flash points — and not on the surge of the coronavirus in many states — is distressing.

    Mr. Trump also delivered official speeches over the weekend that emphasized defending American historical figures like George Washington and some abolitionists, though he avoided explicit references to totems of the Confederacy.

    But on Monday he was back invoking the Confederacy, with his reference to NASCAR’s ban on Confederate flags, while also attacking Mr. Wallace, the only Black driver on NASCAR’s top circuit.

    “Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter on Monday.

    Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, offered a contorted defense of Mr. Trump’s tweet about the Confederate flag and Mr. Wallace during an early afternoon briefing.

    She insisted Mr. Trump was being taken out of context, and invoked Jussie Smollet, the Black television actor known for his role on the TV series “Empire,” who is facing charges that he lied to the authorities about a hate crime attack that detectives said he had staged last year in Chicago.

    No one has credibly suggested Mr. Wallace manufactured the noose that was discovered in his garage stall by a colleague. F.B.I. officials later found that the knot had been tied into the rope as early as October 2019, well before anyone would have known that Mr. Wallace would be assigned that stall for the race.

    Ms. McEnany claimed that the original reports about the incident painted NASCAR members as “racist individuals who were roaming around and engaging in a crime.”

    But Mr. Trump received pushback from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and an informal adviser to the president, who said Monday that he disagreed with Mr. Trump’s tweet.

    “They’re trying to grow the sport,” Mr. Graham said, according to the CNN reporter Manu Raju, referring to NASCAR’s ban on Confederate flags, which it announced last month. “And I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and if you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business.”

    Edited From: “Trump Adds To Playbook Of Stoking White Fear And Resentment”

    Today’s New York Times

    1. Peter – he makes an off-hand reference to getting rid of the flag being bad for business and the Times makes a Federal case out of it. You should have watched today’s news conference. There were 12 questions on the flag, none on BLM or the kids being killed.

      1. Paul, kids being killed (in Chicago and Atlanta) is a gun issue. Trump was lucky he wasn’t asked about that. There are way too many guns flooding our cities. BLM should issue statements regarding gun violence. But I don’t think they have the sophistication to take on the NRA. But they should try!

        1. Basic root cause analysis. If you take away all the guns, will black on black violence go away?

        2. The cities where we are facing these gun deaths are mostly gun free zones. These are illegal guns that will be available to anyone that wishes to buy on the black market even if guns are made illegal in the entire nation.

          You have this odd belief that you can stop a murderer with a law threatening him with incarceration if he buys a gun. Doesn’t that sound silly to you?

          1. Allan,
            The root problem is not the guns. It won’t be the knives, chains, bombs or any other weapon they have available.

    2. Paint Chips, you are lying about the headline from the Times. Molly Haberman is lying when she says: “Donald Trump mounted an explicit defense of the Confederate flag on Monday, suggesting that NASCAR had made a mistake in banning it from its auto racing events,”

      Trump didn’t agree or disagree with Nascars decision to ban the flag. Trump pointed out how the media were calling yet another group racists yet they all banded around Bubba Wallace. Whoever called the press presstitutes was certainly correct.

    3. I will say one legally blonde to another, 🤪

      I was hoping Kayleigh would just straight up say, “Mr. Wallace’s owes no one an apology. If he is apology for something he did not instigate, that is his own decision, I do nor speak for him, and neither does the President. Okay, next question.”

        1. Paul – Oooohhhh, 😆

          But Wallace was just a pawn in the chess game. Used and abused, he doesn’t owe anyone an apology.

          He thought it was real, they told him it was real, then they told him it was not real. I mean, c’mon, there was no intent there. He did not intend anything, unless some think he is/was being deceitful.

          But makes sense why Kayleigh didn’t just say he doesn’t owe anyone an apology. You gotta please the boss, I guess.


    Dem Ga. State Rep.: ‘Disband and Change Name of Democratic Party…It’s Associated with Racism, Bigotry and Confederacy’

    “If racist relics of the past must come down, shouldn’t we start with the Democrat Party?” Democrat Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones asks, introducing his video recalling his party’s dubious past regarding issues of racial equality.

    “If the Democrats are looking to eradicate everything with a ‘racist history,’ when will my party confront and apologize for its own?” Rep. Jones wrote Friday in a Twitter post of his video, in which he denounces the hypocrisy of Democrats supporting the unlawful destruction of statues and monuments while refusing to erase their own ties to slavery, segregation and Democrat Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger:

    “What I see happening from the Democrats and the Left: banding together, going throughout this country unlawfully tearing down statues and removing monuments and changing the name of streets and buildings because they feel it’s associated with racism and bigotry and the Confederacy.”

    “But, here’s what they’re not touching and not banning at all or changing the name: the Democratic Party.’

    Rep. Jones is calling on his party to use its national convention to disband and change its name in order to erase its past association with racism, slavery and the Confederacy:

    “Join me and others. Let’s challenge the Democrat Party, to have at their national convention, the number one platform issue that they will disband and change the Democratic Party.

    “It would no longer be called the Democratic Party. Why? Because it’s associated with racism, bigotry and the Confederacy.”

    1. Estovir, awhile back Vernon Jones endorsed Trump for a second term saying Trump is a “transformative figure who has helped African-American voters, military vets, and farmers with his policies.”

    2. “It’s Associated with Racism, Bigotry and Confederacy’”

      Which country do you live in?

      You disingenuously and insidiously conflate violence with opinion.

      Freedom of thought, speech, belief, religion, assembly, disassembly, press, publication and every other conceivable, natural and God-given right and freedom per the 9th Amendment. Americans may certainly hold positive or negative opinions on everything including race, which is not dissimilar to bigotry or strongly held opinions, and the Confederate States of America were entirely legal and constitutional and as legitimate as other states which have availed themselves of their natural and God-given right to separate, divide, disunify or secede, including, but not limited to, Catalonia, Scotland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Virginia and every nation in the former USSR.

      People are allowed their opinions and their choices. Discrimination is the first step of freedom. If Americans cannot discriminate, Americans cannot be free. In the absence of freedom, people are subjugated by dictatorship. You imagine yourself a tyrant and dictator. Good for you. You and your thesis are unconstitutional, not to mention psychotic.

  7. I listened to the whole thing. He is being targetted for saying what has been said by the state. He has made points the state doesnt like so they will go after him.

  8. Cant they kill each other off faster? Sheesh


    “Father of Eight Year Old Girl Killed by Black Lives Matter Rioters Rips Movement’s Hypocrisy“

    The father of an eight year old girl killed by armed Black Lives Matter rioters in Atlanta excoriated his daughter’s killers for their hypocrisy, pointing out that they had killed a black child while “protesting” under the auspices of the movement.

    Secoriya Williamson was speaking at an Atlanta City Council meeting. His daughter, eight year old Secoriea Turner, was shot and killed when armed protestors of the Black Lives Matter movement opened fire on a vehicle she was riding in that crossed over an illegal road barrier that the rioters had set up. Turner was killed near the parking lot of the Wendy’s in which Rayshard Brooks was shot after stealing a police officer’s taser, an event that set off a firestorm of Black Lives Matter protests in the city.

    “They say black lives matter… You killed your own. You killed your own this time. Just because of a barrier? They killed my baby because she crossed a barrier? You killed a child… She didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

    The killing of an eight year old child is an utterly unspeakable crime, to which the police shooting of an armed suspect resisting arrest pales in comparison to. Sadly, the death of Turner will receive only a small fraction of the media coverage and community outrage in comparison to the shooting death of Brooks.

    Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms acknowledged the heinous nature of the crime while speaking at the council meeting, admitting that the death of Turner far outweighed concerns over the supposed misconduct of the Atlanta police.

    “You shot and killed a baby. And there wasn’t just one shooter; there were at least two shooters. An eight-year-old baby. If you want people to take us seriously, and you don’t want us to lose this movement, then we can’t lose each other.”

    Arrests are yet to be made in the shooting death of the child as of Monday morning.

    1. Anonymous– That gaggle of buffoons sometimes called the White House Press Corps today asked more than a dozen questions about Trump, NASCAR and the confederate flag but did not ask a single question about the record setting number of killings this past weekend in our major democrat controlled cities, including that of an eight year old girl. I would call them prostitutes screwing people for the democrat party but that would be an insult to prostitutes who at least give people some pleasure. Does anyone know which high school these people are recruited from?

        1. Paul C– the presstitutes are missing great opportunities. Imagine if just one of them today had asked McElnany to comment on De Blasio’s claim that being cooped up because of the virus is what caused so many New Yorkers to slaughter each other this past weekend. Maybe she could have asked for a show of hands to see how many of the buffoons’ first impulse after getting out of the house was to get a gun and kill somebody. Someone probably would have asked is that even a crime in NYC? I can hear McElanay now: “As long as you don’t go to a church afterward and sing a hymn, it is unlikely you’ve be arrested.” It could have been fun.

          1. honestlawyer – well put. They could of had cake and coffee after instead of hurt fee fees.

      1. HLM,
        Don’t forget that Chicago is our blog host’s home town. He might cover it if they started killing people on the campus of the University of Chicago or if the peaceful protesters took down the statue of Harry Caray at Wrigley Field. Beyond that, his silence regarding these crime infested progressive-governed cities is quite deafening.

  9. Defund Police NOW! Let Americans do what they want to do without restraint. Cull the herd.


    NYC shootings tripled last week when compared to 2019 numbers

    The number of people shot in New York City more than tripled last week compared to the same period in 2019, police sources said Monday morning.

    Between Monday, June 29, and Sunday, July 5, the city saw 74 shooting incidents with 101 victims, the sources said. That’s compared to 26 shootings with 33 victims during that time last year.

    Meanwhile, 18 people were murdered in the city last week — six more than during the same period last year.

    Sunday alone, there were 30 shooting incidents with 48 victims — nine of whom were killed, the sources said.

    That includes at least seven people who were shot, five fatally, in a span of about three hours Sunday night in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

    Police early Monday identified one of the victims as Anthony Robinson, 29, of Brooklyn, who was fatally hit in the chest on East 170th Street near Sheridan Avenue in the Claremont section of the Bronx around 5:50 p.m.

    He was pronounced dead at BronxCare Health System.

    The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.

    Just after 8 p.m., three men were shot on East 171st Street near College Avenue — two blocks away from the earlier fatal shooting.

    A 22-year-old man who was shot in the chest and a 27-year-old man who took a bullet to the neck were pronounced dead at St. Barnabas Hospital, police said.

    The other victim, a 29-year-old, was shot in the arm. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital in stable condition.

    1. Shhhhh. Black Lives Matter


      Grandfather Pleads to His Community: If Black Lives Matter, Stop Killing Each Other
      Over the weekend 11-year-old Davon McNeal was shot and killed in Washington D.C. while watching fireworks with his family. His grandfather is pleading with criminals in his community to stop the violence and killing of their own people.

      “Everybody is saying they’re just tired, tired of shootings the community,” John Ayala told local Fox5 DC. “They’re just destroying lives. We’ve been protesting for months, for weeks, saying ‘black lives matter, black lives matter.’ Black lives matter seems like only when a police officer shoots a black person. What about all of the black on black crime in the community.”

      John Ayala, tells @fox5dc he’s 11-year-old Davon McNeal’s paternal grandfather. Ayala says his grandson dreamed of being in the NFL & that everyone’s just tired of shootings in the community. He also mentions the Black Lives Matter protests in part of his interview.

      Not CNN

  10. “…the increasingly common rationalization that looting and property damage is a long-standing tradition first embraced by the Sons of Liberty in the Boston Tea Party.”

    – Professor Turley

    The very “misunderstanding” you document is a funciton of being civil or savage.

    Some sentient beings land on the moon.

    Others burn down cities.

  11. You won’t find many news articles that reveal the race of the driver in the Seattle incident. These days, if race isn’t mentioned, you can safely assume it’s the one that doesn’t fit the narrative.

    Then again, how could a black man possibly own a Jaguar??? Wouldn’t white people prohibit that? /sarc

  12. Jonathan: Trying to predict how the Sons of Liberty would view the events of today is a game every one likes to play but few have any real idea–unless you like “Back to the Future” movies, No doubt our colonial ancestors would be aghast at the changes they wrought by declaring independence. The founders were capitalists who, for the most part, opposed British colonial rule only because it encroached on THEIR property rights. George Washington and others opposed the destruction of tea in the Boston Harbor because the colonial elites held private property to be sacrosanct–including the right to own slaves. The colonials would recoil in fear and disgust if they saw today that black people have rights they could never envision for their slaves–the right of citizenship, the right to vote and the right to own property. But like the colonial elites you seem to think that private property rights trump the human rights of black people–the right to be free of racist police violence and other forms of discrimination, e,g., lack of affordable housing, health care, quality education, etc. If you are a black person today you know you have a disproportionate risk of dying from COVID-19 than your white counterpart. That’s systematic racism. So when George Floyd is murdered by Minneapolis police black people in the community reacted in rage and struck out at the symbols of your oppression by breaking plate glass windows and taking a flatscreen TV. But plate glass windows don’t bleed. They don’t die and leave loved ones grieving. But this is what happens when out of control police shoot and kill unarmed black people. Hawk Newsome was correct…”this country is built on violence”. From the lynching of black people in the South, the widespread burning and destruction of black owned homes and businesses in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921, to the use of a car to mow down and kill a peaceful protester in Charlotteville, to the wanton killing of a young black protester in Omaha by a white bar owner. Violence against people of color is endemic to this country. But in your naivete you think “looting, arson and vandalism are being committed today despite the legal and legislative options for reform”. Black people have tried these “options” over the past 100 years with only marginal success. It took between the 15th Amendment (1866) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to effectively give black people the right to vote…99 years! Even today with the November elections looming Trump and Republican controlled state legislatures are working overtime to prevent black and other minority voters from exercising the right to vote– from closing polling stations in minority neighborhoods, restricting early voting and other forms of minority voter suppression. White politicians will simply not willingly give up power. So the Sons of Liberty will, no doubt, be displeased that slavery has been abolished but pleased that at least you are in their corner when it comes to property rights taking precedence over human rights. “Back to the Future”!

    1. No doubt our colonial ancestors would be aghast at the changes they wrought by declaring independence.

      More likely they would be aghast at how ignorant of history the people have become. They set a vision for this country that was attainable with the right form of government. That form only works if the people remain committed to the vision. They would likely be completely stunned by the number of people that believe all rights come from government. And then after they finished laughing, they would turn to Franklin and say I guess they couldn’t.

      About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers. . . .

      1. “More likely they would be aghast at how ignorant of history the people have become. They set a vision for this country that was attainable with the right form of government. That form only works if the people remain committed to the vision. They would likely be completely stunned by the number of people that believe all rights come from government. And then after they finished laughing, they would turn to Franklin and say I guess they couldn’t.”

        They were also very mindful that a democratic republic hadn’t been tried in almost 2k years because leaders didn’t trust the idiots they ruled. They feared both the state and the mob and put in all these checks and balances to stop both, but probably never imagined that so much of the state would support the mob.

        1. but probably never imagined that so much of the state would support the mob.

          I would agree with the exception that it’s more like a codependent relationship. It reminds me of this quote: A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw

    2. Mr McIntyre: You argue that Mr. Turley is wrong in attempting to predict how the “Sons of Liberty” would view the recent looting and suggest that this could only be known by a time-traveler. But then you go on to presume that these “Sons of Liberty” would recoil in fear and disgust at the rights secured by black people over the centuries following the founding of this Nation. Aren’t you guilty of attempting the same time traveling and mind reading of which you accuse Mr. Turley?
      Mr. Turley is merely rebutting the popular analogy comparing the recent looting of property to the Boston Tea Party. Your shifting the subject to slavery and racial discrimination under the law, does nothing to rebut Mr. Turley’s narrow and specific argument above.
      Respect for the rule of law and property rights is not, in modern America, a racial issue. Black people own much of the property damaged or destroyed in the recent looting.
      You refer to the advancements made in the last century as “marginal.” Really? The eradication of Jim Crow laws was a “marginal” success?
      We are all inherently imperfect. Many of the founders were, in hindsight, very wrong in their views about race. But that doesn’t mean they were wrong about everything, including the importance of property rights. I don’t need to read minds to assert that most people, regardless of skin color, prefer that the law protect property rights.
      We are all in this together. We Americans are the most privileged people in the history of the world. Let’s not blow it. Let us learn from the past and never forget. Let us develop a nuanced, rational understanding of our history. We don’t need to throw out the baby with the bath water.
      But let us not repeat the mistakes of the past by repackaging and perpetuating racial hatred, discord and violence. Let us move forward together hand in hand, heart in heart. We don’t have to agree. But let our disagreements be peaceful and in good faith.

  13. As one whose ancestors participated in virtually every event of colonial MA Bay, I have found myself arguing precisely the same thing – the Tea Party were not looters or thieves, anything but, and they did not destroy property. To do so would have obscured the message. Which is also precisely what has happened with BLM. No one believes these so-called “protests” were, or are, anything BUT a criminal attack on the law-abiding people of America. That’s what it is. .

    1. Elevated speech is not required – the Sons of Liberty were just that, the rioters of today are thugs that don’t believe in anything but watching NetFlix or playing X-Box in hi-def. Can you imagine if the tumult of those times were defined by playing a game or indulging in entertainment? I support free speech too, even that which I disagree with, but it would be great if the Professor would stop hedging his bets. At this point in time, absolutely nothing good would come from Dem rule, and the precious freedom of speech would be the first to go. It is very strange to me that someone in a relative position of authority could be so blasé about something connected to an issue that would cease to exist for them altogether if the cards fall a certain way, on which their entire livelhood and philosophy is seemingly based upon..

  14. The United States has 4.2% of the world’s population, but over 25.3% of the infections and 24.4% of the deaths.

        1. You are wrong.

          Quote the paragraphs from the Washington Post that back you up on that. What is being found with the increase in testing is that more people were infected then previously thought, but that means the death rate of those that had the disease has fallen and that we are better off than we had previously thought.

          1. The WaPO article is a state by state accounting off testing and cases but there is not a national figure given. The trend is obvious.

            Death is a trailing indicator of new cases, which are exploding in the Sun Belt.

        2. it used to be that only those with symptoms or other extreme situations were tested. now, we are testing NOT ONY more people, but a much different segment of the population with the major difference that people are being tested not because they have symptoms but because their work requires it, they are going to the hospital for reasons other than covid.

          iow, we are simply testing a broader swath of the population. and because this includes lots of otherwise healthy people, the hospitalization rate and mortality rates are much lower than what saw earlier.

          it really is simple math and it’s sadly astonishing that so many ‘elites’ of our society can’t grasp this. or worse, they get it but lie about it.

      1. The editors of Reason are adolescents who have an antipathy to law enforcement. They haven’t a clue as to what the most salient problems of prisons are and they haven’t a clue how to repair them. Nor is it of interest to them. Opinion journalists live to complain. They don’t have any real skills.

        1. Yes absurd. And CATO knows nothing about government spending. And the American Conservative, and any number of news outlets, pull the term neoconservative out of thin air. Oh, and also that Milton Friedman is a moron. Can’t forget that one.

          Suffice it to say, that you have made your views quite clear that our various legal systems are smooth operating machines that have never been in better shape.

          1. Yes absurd. And CATO knows nothing about government spending.

            CATO likely does employ opinion journalists. They should have people with policy chops on the staff as well.

            And the American Conservative, and any number of news outlets, pull the term neoconservative out of thin air.

            No, they use the term as a synonym for ‘Jew’ or as a synonym for ‘the boogie man’. It’s a silly term outside of a particular context: discussion of a discrete circle of academics and writers producing copy during the years running from 1977 to 1992. They’ve never represented a perspective differentiable from main currents of discussion in the Republican Party.

            Oh, and also that Milton Friedman is a moron. Can’t forget that one.

            What you’re refusing to forget is the issue of your imagination. I never said it.

          2. While we’re at it, CATO’s principal point man on public expenditure is someone named Michael Tanner, who actually is an opinion journalist. They have people with specialized expertise on some adjacent matters – public sector pensions and tax policy – but not public expenditure per se. They have an ant heap of people who study trade policy (which has only a modest effect on welfare in a large economy like ours).; a cynic might suggest their donors want people talking book for them.

            1. You have implied at times, at least the way I read you, that the police are foils for the problems. The police have to do what their supervisors who are government bureaucrats tell them to do. They target neighborhoods and engage in tactics the government tells them to engage in. The government bureaucrats have gotten their enabling legislation from the state legislatures, and the explosion of laws over the last 40 years, and therefore we the people. So there’s plenty of blame to go around.

              Will the Heritage Foundation do?

              1. He spends his every moment online with Facebook, here, aceofshades, althouse and any number of “this wont end well”, “Democrats are (insert pejorative)”

                He will never admit he is a mirror reflection of Seth Warner / bythebook / Natasha, but alas why cast pearls before swine

    1. If you can believe that the rest of the world is being honest in the reporting of its statistics.

    2. The big caveat is that no one is reporting using the same guidelines. Now, if someone tests positive, then all of the members of that household are deemed ‘presumed positive’ as well. Since George Floyd had the Covid 19 in his blood, he by definition died of Covid 19. (And we know that is not true).

      1. 94corvette – I keep telling people that Floyd died of CCP Virus and those four officers need to be let out of jail.

  15. Jonathan,

    I enjoy your blog, but there are too many grammatical errors and they undermine the credibility of the blog. I recommend a little more careful editing.

    Thanks for your good work.

    Lou Stahl

    1. Lou Stahl – as most of us have gotten on here we have complained about the editing problems. They have never improved. We just roll with them now. 😉 Paul in Gilbert

  16. 1 Protester Killed, Another Injured, On Seattle Freeway

    This story is about as complicated as it gets. A group of protesters ran onto Seattle’s I 5 Freeway at about 1:30 Sunday morning. Police tried to block the access routes. Nevertheless a young Black man, driving a Jaguar, gained access to the freeway and drove into the protesters killing a Young White woman and injuring another.

    The protesters are enraged this happened. But the police have had to delicately point out that freeways are not appropriate venues for demonstrations (as though that needs pointing out). It creates this odd situation where police are forced to defend their improvised efforts to close the freeway which failed to stop the mishap.

    The Black man driving the Jaguar was not found to be drunk. And it’s not entirely clear if he deliberately defied the police road block, or mistakenly accessed the freeway. In any event this incident creates a muddly narrative that seems to define these protests. But one strongly suspects Seattle is suffering from ‘protest fatigue’.

    Perhaps Darren Smith of Washington can add to this story.

    1. Seth:

      Not all that complicated. It’s the “Fed Up Quotient” at work. For a given number of protests a certain number of lawful activities are affected. When the number gets high enough mayhem is visited down on the protesters. See Hershey Chocolate Strike of 1937 and the Hardhat Riot of 1970.

    2. This story is about as complicated as it gets.

      Which is not complicated at all. In the Navy we referred to the physics of this as The law of gross tonnage. As the saying goes, you may be right, but don’t be dead right.

    3. Nevertheless a young Black man, driving a Jaguar, gained access to the freeway and drove into the protesters killing a Young White woman and injuring another.

      Additionally, that sentence has meaningless information in it if one were reporting objectively. It should just read A driver gained access to the freeway and drove into the protesters, killing one and injuring another.

      1. I would modify the last section to read: “…into the protesters who had illegally swarmed the freeway…”

        we don’t know exactly what the conditions are that the driver saw, but we DO know the protesters shouldn’t have been there.

        1. Good point. Of the number of sea & anchor details I’ve been on in the San Diego channel, you’d be surprised at the number of sailboat skippers that think it’s funny to cross our right of way. Most of the motored vessels stay clear, but for some reason those under sail have no respect for the laws of physics.

      2. As I said, Olly, it’s a ‘complicated’ story. The White girls were presumably protesting Police treatment of Blacks. Yet it was a Black man who droves into these girls. Yet it’s not clear ‘what’ if any motives, the young Black man had. The story becomes a narrative that the protesters themselves have a hard time spinning. And the Police are at a total loss responding to this. They obviously didn’t encourage these protests. Yet they now have to explain why their blockade didn’t prevent the mishap.

        1. I still don’t see the complication, other than, as you said, from the perspective of the protesters who are having a hard time blaming anyone but themselves. The driver could have been anyone and their race is basically a random sample. If the driver was white, then we would ‘know’ the motivation – RACISM! But now, the only question is whether or not it will ever occur to the protesters that they are to blame.

          I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone blaming the girl who got killed with some tortured logic about how she was exerting her white privilege to be in that place.

        2. Agreed. It’s a miracle you can hold a cogent thought together long enough to follow your script. I guess actors ARE real professionals. Except for those times they are asked to deviate from their marching orders. Pfft. Nobody cares, Seth Warner. You are entitled to your opinion, but you sure ain’t changing minds.

    4. Recall that a semi truck did the same thing in MN or somewhere. Tragic, but having something unfamiliar and unexpected happening on a freeway is a recipe for these kinds of disasters.

      I suspect we will start seeing some shootouts when some of these ‘most peaceful protestors’ start waving their guns around while making demands.


      This is the video shot by a bystander. It is a bit graphic–it shows two victims at a distance struck and launched into the air–I will offer some analysis but this would not constitute a complete reconstruction since I obviously do not have access to the information and testing necessary to draw a firm conclusion.

      I draw from two sources: The above video; and the information presented by KOMO News

      The particulars of the case are that prior to the collision, the highway was closed to vehicular traffic on either the authority of the State Patrol or the Department of Transportation for safety reasons due to a demonstration by protesters. The protesters parked several vehicles to act as safety barriers that extended several lanes but this was not a complete blockage. The actions by the demonstrators were illegal (Disorderly Conduct) but it is not material to the criminal traffic offense levied against the driver in this case. The state closed traffic on this section of Interstate Five and erected barricades upon ramps approaching the surrounding freeway.

      The driver reportedly just after 1:00 a.m. evaded a marked barricade and drove the wrong way up a ramp to enter this section of freeway. (Violation of Road Closure) He proceeds toward the demonstrators and the improvised vehicle barricade at close to highway speed but decelerates. Note that I do not have the equipment to estimate speed but as a guess I would say he slowed to at least half the freeway speed as he closely neared the parked vehicle barricade. There is a slight fog in the area which allows his brake lights to show illumination for the camera. He was using the brakes intermittently when passing the improvised barricade. He then makes sharp, but not effective, left turn then brakes hard just prior to striking the two victims. It is especially noteworthy that a sizeable crowd of people were toward the right hard shoulder on the other side of the improvised barricade and this would have been evident to the driver, as I will explain later.

      The driver stuck the victims directly by the front bumper of the Jaguar. It is not at all possible the driver could have not known of the collision at this point. Moreover, the sound of the collision is apparent from the point of view of the camera as it can be heard. The driver then fled the scene in his vehicle after a short wait after the collision. He was followed by a civilian who caused the driver to stop a mile later by driving in front of him and slowing him to a stop. (This is permitted under for a civilian to detain for a felony offense) Troopers arrested the driver. He reportedly asked about the condition of the victims, showing that he clearly had knowledge of the collision after he left the scene.

      The judge remanded the driver to custody without bail on the charge of vehicular assault. Keep in mind this is not a final charge as it is conventional in WA State to make an initial charge that fully satisfies the elements of a felony crime in order to establish probable cause and remand into custody. I believe there is sufficient evidence to charge the driver with Vehicular Homicide (Victim 1 died in hospital), Vehicular Assault (Victim 2 suffered substantial bodily harm), and two counts of Felony Hit and Run (Duty in case of personal injury or death or damage to attended vehicle or other property, )

      I believe it is rather self-evident as to the Hit and Run charge, so I will not explain it. The driver had knowledge that a collision occurred, and left the scene. The vehicular assault charge injury element is met by victim #2 receiving substantial bodily harm as a proximate cause of the collision. Victim #1 immediately suffered Substantial Bodily Harm, but died within a year and a day since the collision–elevating the crime to a vehicular homicide.

      In order to prove the Assault/Homicide charge it is necessary for the state to prove either Reckless Driving or driving with “[w]ith disregard for the safety of others”. Reckless driving requires the element of “driv[ing] any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. The first element, “disregard for the safety of others” does not carry a per se element of knowledge or intent, it is the easier of the two. The “Willful and Wanton” element does but in my opinion this is provable.

      This is where the importance the driver disregarding the closed barricades on the exit ramps comes into play. Here the roadway was clearly closed for safety purposes. Despite this the driver drove the wrong way onto a ramp of a closed freeway. From the beginning this is an unsafe act and shows a disregard for safety and the traffic law. Furthermore, it was readily apparent that the freeway was blocked as there was no ordinary traffic on the freeway and he could clearly see the improvised vehicle barricade established by the protesters that spanned nearly all lanes. The driver circumvented this at a dangerous speed. From his point of view, I believe he easily could have seen a crowd of pedestrians about the cars, especially on the hard shoulder he drove around. A reasonable driver, even one who somehow mistakenly came onto the freeway, would have stopped his car and at most approached at less than walking speed to determine if he/she could have continued past the barrier. An example of this would be a driver on a four lane roadway in lane 1 sees another vehicle in lane 2 that is stopped at the crosswalk despite the light being green. A reasonable driver would slow to a near stop and see if there is an errant pedestrian in front of the other car that might suddenly emerge in front of him unexpectedly. Here a prudent driver would have stopped and determined if it was safe to proceed. The driver in this case disregarded safety of others.

      I do not know if it has been determined if the driver acted intentionally to strike the pedestrians. That would be difficult to prove without concrete evidence or a confession that survives a suppression hearing. That could bring the case to a second degree murder or first degree murder (a stretch) upon extreme indifference to human life element of Murder in the 1st. From a prosecution point of view the Vehicular Homicide charge is much more provable than a murder charge, if only because the state must prove what the driver was thinking. I don’t know what this driver has for an offender score, if he even has a criminal record, and that would dictate largely what he might be sentenced to given any conviction.

      The case in my view is rather straight forward. What needs to happen at this stage is a well-organized collision reconstruction. The WSP needs to determine vehicle speed at nearly every important point along the direction of travel, and where and when the braking occurred. The defense might try to defeat the reckless driving element by claiming the driver attempted to stop as fast as he could and tried to avoid the collision as any reasonable driver would. I don’t believe they will be successful in that but it is the only effective defense he might have. If they can defeat the Reckless Driving and the element of disregarding the safety of others, the state will lose the vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, which is the most penalizing of the charges available. All that would be left is the hit and run. There was no evidence mentioned of the driver being impaired by intoxicants.

      1. Darren Smith – this is going to be an odd case for the jury. From my view, the driver tried to avoid the cars and the pedestrians, however then accidentally ran into more pedestrians.

        1. Paul,
          It appears from the angle we have that the driver swerved onto the shoulder to avoid the van and then realized too late that there were pedestrians on the other side that had been blocked from view by the van. I doubt they will defeat the reckless driving charge, because when approaching vehicles stopped and blocking your travel in the roadway, it is illegal to transition to the shoulder to pass.

          1. See, Olly, it gets complicated. This story doesn’t spin to anyone’s narrative.

            1. See what? It’s still not complicated. Take note of Darren’s post when he said: The case in my view is rather straight forward. Your original post attempted to make it more complicated by inserting race into it. Your post failed the objectivity test.

          2. OLLY – assuming the rate of speed is the legal rate on the freeway, coming on two large obstacles without their lights on as you round a curve would cause you to go right, then seeing the people (who are wearing black) you immediately make a hard left which puts you in the path of the other people is black. The Reckless Driving for sure. Not sure on the Vehicle Manslaughter.

            1. I believe he’ll have a difficult time explaining how he accessed the interstate only to become surprised by vehicles blocking the roadway. Even if it were a Lexus with a stuck accelerator in heavy fog, he’d still not be able to explain his illegal access.

                  1. OLLY – it could be diagnosed by the time he goes to trial. 😉

      2. The driver reportedly just after 1:00 a.m. evaded a marked barricade and drove the wrong way up a ramp to enter this section of freeway. (Violation of Road Closure)

        Why in God’s name are the state police co-operating with these twerps? Public thoroughfare are just that, not playpens for young women with cluster B personality disorders.

        1. Good point. Normally, road closures are announced well in advance so the public can plan alternate routes. This was all avoidable had the state police not permitted the protesters to be there in the first place.

        2. That is a very valid point. It was later announced after the fatality, that WSP would arrest disorderly pedestrians blocking the highway and not permit these demonstrations again. One would have thought they would have learned the lesson from a year or two ago where a pedestrian was hit during a similar protest farther North. Basically what should have happened if the freeway was unlawfully blocked would be to immediately close the freeway on-ramps then order the demonstrators to disperse and if they did not then arrest every one of them for Failure to Disperse or Disorderly Conduct, then re-open traffic. The state cooked up a recipe for disaster by facilitating this to happen over and over. This is not a low-speed city street, it is an interstate limited access freeway. It is also a chokepoint that forces traffic to either take surface roads or divert to SR-520 and then to I-405 in Bellevue or take SR-99 to the West which is no longer a limited access highway from just about North of Mercer St. At the very least it is a waste of state resources to close a freeway when protesters can simply move one block to the West and peacefully and lawfully demonstrate there.

      3. Wow, Darren, that’s a professional report! Thanks for contributing.

    1. He runs on too long. What it’s indicative of is the unwillingness to leave any sphere of life free of political contention (as well as the incapacity to tolerate ordinary give and take). I don’t think this will end well.

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